What Is Teething Syndrome?
Teething syndrome — or simply
“teething” — is a normal process that infants go through as their teeth
break, or cut, through their gums. According to the American Dental
Association, babies start teething when they are between
4 and 7 months old. By the time a child is 3, they should have a first
or primary set of 20 teeth.
Having teeth means your child will be able to
eat a bigger variety of foods, but getting there can be tough on both baby and
parent. There are ways you can make your child more
comfortable during the process, and there are signs that signal when it’s time
to call the pediatrician.
Understanding Why Babies Teethe
Babies are born with a full set of teeth
underneath their gums. During the first year of life, these teeth
begin to cut through the gums.
These teeth break through the gums in stages.
Typically, the classic bottom teeth — often referred to as pegs — come in
first, followed by the top middle teeth. From this point on, the remaining
teeth will cut through the gums over a period of two years,
according to the American Academy of
Pediatrics. Some children may even get their full sets of teeth after
2 years of age.
Associated with Teething
Each infant has a unique mix of symptoms
during teething. The most common symptoms are irritability and a lack of appetite.
Normally, babies will show at least one or two
of the following symptoms when they begin to teethe:
on solid objects
and tender gums
and swollen gums
Relieving Your Baby’s Teething Pain
While teething is a natural process, there are
some tried and true methods to help relieve your baby’s discomfort. You can try
rubbing your child’s gums with a damp washcloth, a
clean finger, or a special gum-rubbing finger pad.
Teething rings are also popular options. Babies can
chew on these to ease the discomfort. If you can, chill a teething ring in the refrigerator beforehand.
This provides pressure on the gums along with a soothing coolness. You should never freeze the ring because it can break
and possibly choke your infant.
With time, you should begin to
introduce harder foods, like cold fruit and vegetables, to your baby’s diet. This is an
important milestone that can also alleviate teething
discomfort. Make sure to stay with the child at all times, so you can
monitor their chewing and prevent choking.
During teething, a baby’s constant drooling
can irritate their skin. Use a bib to keep your baby’s chin dry, as best as
Relief with Medications
If your infant is really having a tough time,
you might want to give them infant acetaminophen to relieve discomfort. You can also apply a
teething gel. However, avoid gels that contain choline salicylate and
benzocaine. These are not safe for infants,
since they can reduce the levels of oxygen in the blood.
There are other supposed remedies out there
that should be avoided. In fact, such methods can actually harm your baby.
a baby aspirin or rub it on the gums
alcohol on the baby’s gums
completely frozen objects directly on the gums
your child to chew on hard plastic toys — this poses both an oral health risk
as well as a choking hazard
believe that high fever and diarrhea are also symptoms
of teething, but this is usually not the case. Contact your pediatrician if your baby
develops a fever or diarrhea, or if they’re having continued discomfort.
Teething is a natural part of an infant’s growth
and development. Due to the pain and discomfort, it’s easy for parents to
become anxious about the process. Know that the symptoms of teething will
eventually pass, and that your child will one day have a healthy set of teeth
thanks to your efforts to keep up with good oral hygiene. Any specific concerns
or prolonged discomfort should be addressed with your child’s pediatrician or